Your home is a reflection of your views and values. It’s a place to relax, spend time with your family, escape from the hustle and bustle of life outside your sanctuary, and where you enjoy the little moments. But, believe it or not, your home can also be a statement about your commitment to the environment.

When you’re renovating your home, whether it’s an entire overhaul or just a little spruce up after so many years of living in the same place, there are lots of things to consider, especially when it comes to eco-friendly home renovation.


Eco home renovation isn’t just nice to have; it’s an absolute necessity for our future on this planet. Green renovation is an excellent way to reduce the carbon footprint of your home and live more sustainably, but it also allows for the reduction of landfill waste, energy consumption, and pollution. In addition, Eco home renovation can even help save money in the long term by increasing your property value.

With this in mind, here are some simple ways to make your home renovation more eco-friendly.
Sustainable interior design living room

Green Renovation Tips to Eco-Friendly Home Renovation

1. The Walls

Are your walls scuffed? Do they need some TLC? It’s clear that most of us usually reach for paint from our local convenience store, but it is time to put a stop to that! Conventional paints purchased today are incredibly toxic to the environment, and it’s about time that we stop investing in companies that produce them.

Ordinary paints are bad for the environment due to the Volatile organic compounds (VOC) inside them. VOC's are chemical gases that are released into our atmosphere. When this happens, it can lead to ground-level ozone - a chemical reaction between oxides of nitrogen (found in air soil and water) and VOC's. This leads to high ozone level, contributing to climate change and global warming.

The presence of high VOC in paint in our homes can also pose a significant threat to human health. At low levels, it can cause headaches and nausea, or lead to respiratory issues like asthma or bronchitis. On the other hand, high-level exposures have been linked with cancer, as well as complications from liver function tests, among other things!

In the UK, we have The Volatile Organic Compounds in Paints and Varnishes Regulations 2012. This is designed to control volatile organic compounds (VOCs) levels found within paint products manufactured and sold here. These regulations prevent both paints and varnishes with high levels of VOC from ever making their way into our homes.


Interior design rattan furniture


Eco-friendly paints to consider include:


  • Annie Sloan - Specialises in natural Chalk Paint.

  • Earthborn - Eco-friendly paint provider

  • Edward Bulmer - Natural heritage paint colours from eco-friendly paint specialists

  • Auro - 96 unique colour shades with a new ecological formula

  • Graphenstone - Ecological and natural paints


Another idea for eco-friendly home renovation is textured or patterned wallpapers. Wallpaper helps to conceal bumps or cracks, and it’s a great way to add some interest and personality to your home. However, wallpaper is often not eco-friendly because it is made from vinyl and plastics so check the material before purchasing! 

What to look for in an eco-friendly wallpaper:

  • Aim for water-based ink. This is preferable to solvent-based ink as solvent-based is likely to be higher in VOCs.

  • Source wallpapers labelled with the Greenguard certification. This means that they have low levels of VOC.


To get the most out of your home, it’s essential to take care of indoor air quality. Vinyl and coated paper can leave behind harmful chemicals that are not healthy for you or your family when they wear down. For eco-friendly wallpaper options, choose natural alternatives like Auro 389, which will work just as well - if not better - than big brands.

  • MissPrint - Creates modern wallpaper designs in PEFC certified paper - that promotes the sustainable management of forests.

  • Farrow & Ball - Handcrafted wallpapers - Rolls of high-quality paper sourced from sustainable forests. Boasts small-batch manufacturing and eco-friendly ingredients.

  • Mini Moderns - Made on FSC certified paper, making them a fantastic eco-sustainable brand with a British Heritage.

  • Little Greene - The paper used in their wallpapers comes from FSC or PEFC certificated sustainable forests, so for every tree used, another four are planted.




Chair furniture

2. The Furniture

According to Curb, nine million tons of furniture end up in landfill every year. And this is continually rising. How to solve the problem? Buy less, and recycle more. So, Second-hand furniture is the way to go when it comes to eco-friendly home renovation. Not only does it prevent furniture from going to waste, but furniture donations and charity stores like the British Heart Foundation will save you cash and also supply great quality furniture pieces.

Fore ease, you can also go to online sites like Vinterior, eBay, or Gumtree, as well as online marketplace companies such as Second Time Around. Some people may even ask their friends and family for spare furniture pieces, or you can upcycle your own old furniture with a lick of paint!

If you can’t find what you need from second-hand retailers, don’t worry, there are plenty of ethical and eco-friendly brands that create furniture with the planet and people in mind. When shopping for furniture, ensure you visit ethical, eco-furniture stores that seek to create a more circular economy and ask the right questions:

  • Do they produce long-lasting products? This is a fundamental measure to minimise our consumption of resources and carbon emissions.

  • Do they design for disassembly? This makes it easy to renew and recycle a product and its components.

  • Do they minimise their energy and resource consumption? Use renewable energy? Reuse of packaging?

  • Local companies, or companies moving closer to where the market is in order to save on carbon emissions

  • Do they have a take-back policy, refund/buyback schemes offered to customers? This way, the product can be taken back for it to be re-used or recycled back into the manufacturing process.

  • Do they use organic, renewable materials? If the farming or forestry is run in a sustainable way that does not degrade the soils or exploit water resources?

  • Do they use recycled materials to minimise the use of new virgin materials, i.e. single-use plastics?


To make your search easier, here are some innovative brands that dare to be more experimental with their designs and use of the material to address our climate crisis:

  • Otra Vida - Crafting recycled single-use plastics into beautiful and unique pieces of furniture and homeware

  • Myakka - Myakka only uses sustainable wood and is fully involved in the fair-trade environment.

  • Konk - Only uses timber from approved sustainable forests.

  • Greenwoods Furniture - Handmade FSC wood furniture

  • Snoozel Green - Handmade in Sri Lanka at a sustainable and fair-trade factory that is carbon-neutral and certified. Materials are sourced in and around Sri Lanka and India. And, to top it all off, they plant 10 trees for each mattress they sell.



Bed furniture soft furnishing


3. Soft Furnishing

Similarly, when looking for soft furnishing, it is also essential to ask the same questions as above to define whether the materials are designed for a circular economy. You must check the label for the textile contents.

Many textiles are derived from plastics, which is toxic for the environment and ultimately sent to landfill as they are unable to recycle them.

However, fabrics made from recycled plastic can also be sustainable as they minimise our use of new resources and prevent plastics from going to waste. This is a similar case for recycled cotton, and recycled wool.

The most eco-friendly textiles out there are sustainably grown hemp and linen. They are natural and organic fabrics that are sustainably farmed, a renewable resource and biodegradable after it's useful life. This is a stark contrast to synthetic polymers like nylon and acrylics that can take up to 500 years before decomposing.

  • Linen is made from flax which requires minimal inputs - no fertilisers or pesticides, and far less water than cotton (approx one-tenth).

  • Hemp, on the other hand, needs even less input but has formidable strength that rivals synthetic fibres like nylon and polyester.


These materials can be transformed into soft furnishings, fabrics and even building insulation!

Eco-friendly home renovation just got a whole lot easier with the help of hemp and linen. Check out:


  • Linen and Stripes - Eco-friendly linen home decor

  • Hempiness - Source 100% organic hemp fabrics for your curtains

  • One Nine Eight Five - Sustainable British home furnishings made from recycled cotton or recycled wool, using off-cuts from garment making factories.


Stone walls and terracotta floor tiles


4. The Floors

Choosing the right flooring material can not only help you to improve the indoor air quality of your home, but also reduce its environmental impact.

Some flooring types are clearly at odds with our goal of finding natural ways to be sustainable at home. For instance, PVC flooring is a popular, but unhealthy choice for homes. PVC is known to off-gas VOC directly into our homes, making our indoor air quality more pollutant that outside!

It is easy to install and inexpensive - with 14 billion pounds of production every year - but it doesn’t provide the sustainability benefits that other types can offer. From an environmental standpoint, you’re essentially wasting resources by choosing PVC over more natural options. PVC is highly toxic for the environment and it can not be recycled after use.

Similarly when choosing furniture for your home, eco-friendly flooring always includes the use of reclaimed and recycled materials such as:

  • Old bricks or brick slips

  • Reclaimed scaffolding planks

  • Recycled Tiles

  • Or, simply expose your floorboards


Again, if you prefer to buy new, then move away from vinyl, carpet, or pretty much any synthetic! Instead, you can use: 

  • Sustainably sourced Jute

  • FSC Timber

  • Cork

  • Organic Bamboo

  • Linoleum


Some eco-friendly flooring suppliers include:


  • Forbo - Forbo Flooring produces linoleum that are particularly sustainable both during production and throughout the product life cycle. Linoleum is completely natural, and a hardy material, perfect for high traffic areas in your home.

  • Tarkett - Tarkett also produce linoleum and are committed to developing sustainable, innovative flooring solutions that enhance well-being and respect the environment.

  • Elka Floor - Minimum waste, maximum efficiency. Elka boasts natural wood from a responsibly managed forest.

  • Johnson Tiles - Sustainably made in the market since 1901. Johnson Tiles transforms plastic waste into environmentally-friendly recycled plastic sheets used to create modern furniture pieces and interior or exterior design elements.

It’s crucial that you try your best to avoid stone flooring due to the environmental effects of quarrying and the carbon footprint of transporting it.






Final Thoughts

Ultimately, second hand and reclaimed materials are the best way to thrive in sustainable home renovation. Recycling and re-using materials prevents new resources from going to waste and ending up in landfill or to be incinerated.

Our goal, at IGOLO is to raise awareness around eco-friendly home renovation and highlight the businesses that dare to be innovative with circular design to offset our carbon intensive industries.

Eco-friendly home renovation is just one step on our journey to a better world. Ensure you’re part of the eco-revolution by keeping up to date with the latest eco news, right here on our blog page.



Sophia Major Profile Photo


Sophia Major, BA (Hons) MArch Architectural Designer & Certified Passivhaus designer

Founder of IGOLO. Our mission is to make sustainable home renovation & design more accessible and desirable for everyone.

March 08, 2022

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